COVID-19 Impacts on Respite Care

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

DCYF Header Image

Dear Out-of-Home Caregiver,

DCYF is committed to supporting our out-of-home caregivers. We recognize that staff, caregivers and families are balancing numerous responsibilities and are experiencing increased stress. Our first goal as an agency is to ensure that all children and families are safe. In addition, we need to support and maintain health and safety guidelines. 

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the number of available resources for placement as families make decisions regarding placement capacity based on the health and safety needs of their families. These circumstances have further impacted our already limited capacity to identify resources for respite care. As a result, during this time DCYF will be limiting the use of respite as indicated below:

  • Regional placement staff will not accept requests for respite for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, effective April 6, 2020. Caseworkers may request respite support for a family in emergent circumstances with the approval of their supervisor.
  • Caregivers can reach out to their caseworkers to discuss their support needs and identify services that may be available to support the family. This may include referrals to mental health services or DCYF contracted resources. It should be noted that the majority of these services are currently being provided via telehealth or videoconference.
  • FTDMs or other shared planning meetings can be held via videoconference or conference call to identify supportive resources and support placement stabilization.
  • We recognize that caregivers may have an identified respite provider that they regularly use. If a caregiver has a respite provider with whom they work directly and who is willing to continue with respite, the service can still be funded. The payment and documentation process within DCYF remains the same.
  • Child Placing Agencies may continue to provide respite within their available resources.

This has been a difficult but necessary decision for us. We remain committed to supporting our families within our limited resources and health and safety requirements for social distancing and staying at home. Once the COVID-19 crisis is resolved, routine access to respite will resume.

For questions regarding your specific situation, please work directly with your child’s caseworker and supervisor. For general questions, email Holly Luna, DCYF Kinship and Caregiver Support Program Manager at holly.luna@dcyf.wa.Gov.


Thank you for all that you do for our families.